Tuesday, August 29, 2006

travel notes

I am on the short flight from Madison to Detroit.

Nina? A familiar voice from the seat behind me. I slam my seat back hard in friendly greeting. Hey, it's Jeremy, the blogger friend who ditched Madison in favor of a few years in Cambridge.

Disembarking, we catch up on all relevant events of the past month.

I have a rich social life in Cambridge in the next four days – he tells me.
I just quit being CEO of a yet to be formed corporation – I say to him.

On my next flight, Detroit to Hartford, I sit down in my window seat and take out work papers.
Nina? Are you Nina? The flight attendant is hurrying toward me.
(Did I do something wrong? Did I leave behind valuable possessions? Did someone find chapstick in my bag? Chapstick is permissible on board, no?)
Welcome! We want you to sit up front! We have a seat for you!
(Is it because of Ocean? It’s my blog, isn’t it? No… it’s my Air France (now merged with KLM and therefore NW) frequent flyer status.)

For those curious about first row flying, let me just share this view from up front: (Write your own story for this photo)

summer 06 865

So begins my trip out east to help daughters move to their respective residences in New Haven. The moving-in ritual has been a fixture of my Labor Day week-end for the past eight years. Heavy duty labor: lifting, carrying, building. I did it first at age forty-five, thinking – man, I’m too old for this. That was then. Now I’m thinking – bring it on, kids! I am so ready for you! (It could be that I understand that I am nearing the last stretch. College years will be over and done with. Moving-in rituals will change. Two Men and a Truck will replace Mommy with her Bare Hands.)

So what will I do in future years, when on Labor Day I will not have anything laboriously difficult to handle? Do people really just get out the grill, pop a can of Miller Light and do nothing?

In New Haven, the puddles are huge, reflecting what it has been like here for the past few days, centuries…

summer 06 866